A Heart At Peace

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – (Proverbs 14:30, NIV)

Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer. – (Proverbs 14:30, ERV)

A tender, tranquil heart will make you healthy, but jealousy can make you sick. – (Proverbs 14:30, TPT)

The heart is at peace when we recognize all of the reasons we have to be grateful. A grateful heart is healthy and happy, thus at peace, no matter the circumstances. However, when we start looking at what others have and make comparisons, jealousy has room to rise and rot our hearts and attitudes. Rather than envy, we ought to be happy for those around us who have what we desire. The heart becomes sick when seeped in wanting what we do not have, yet joy comes to us as we give thanks for all that we do have. God is good and gracious, and we need not allow comparison to steal our peace. We are loved, valued and provided for just as we are, and He grows in us and through us more of what He intended, as we depend on and trust in Him. May we ever seek peace from our Provider, for it is in Him that we find health, happiness and peace.

To understand peace,

Requires gratitude;

All thanks be to God,

Through love, we’re pursued.

Let not jealousy,

Rise up, find a place;

It kills thankfulness,

Dismisses God’s grace.

May we choose seek peace,

By seeking the Lord;

All thanks be to God,

Who loves and adores.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can know true peace as we recognize that gratitude grows peace within us. Thank You that You show us how to protect our hearts and the peace You provide. Forgive us for the times that we have envied those around us. Show us how to celebrate the blessings granted to others and to give all thanks to You for the provision in our lives. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming peace that surpasses understanding, and depend on You to celebrate others rather than envy what others have. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 118:1

Joyful Confidence

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, NIV) 

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV) 

But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, proven character leads us back to hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, TPT) 

This morning, as I made my way in the wee hours of darkness, to go dog walking with a dear friend, I heard these very same verses being spoken on the radio. Both this morning and when I did my devotional reading this evening, I took pause and determined that I have so far to go. The Passions Translation is the one that I can most closely relate to, as it points to the joyful confidence in the midst of struggle, and that something good can come from pressure or pain. When we place our confidence in Christ, even in the mist of struggle, we discover that there is joy in Him. Patient endurance, character and hope, are all part of the beauty that come from our ashes. Right now, what I have spent the last twenty-four years of my life doing, has been flipped upside down and makes me feel like a brand-new teacher all over again. The learning curve required is cumbersome and challenging, yet I know that the more that I patiently persevere, the greater the chance that I will learn and grow. It is in that space of growing, that I find hope again. Hope that I can reach and teach kids, regardless of whether it is online or in person, and hope that one day, I will get to teach in a regular classroom again, face-to-face with my students. God uses our trials and difficulties to grow and refine us. It is always far easier to look back and see what He has done, than it is to recognize that He can work all things together for good in the middle of the messy. May we seek the Lord in our suffering and in our blessings, knowing that He can move mightily in all things, and produce the hope that shows our heart how to endure and overcome. 

No matter what comes, 

May our hearts find joy; 

Not in the heartache, 

But God’s grace employed. 

Beauty from ashes, 

Is what we all need; 

Character building, 

In hope, He will lead. 

May we each rise up, 

In Christ, persevere; 

For He overcomes, 

Always, He is near. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can utilize our every experience and circumstance to produce good in us and through us. Forgive us for our desire to get out of difficult situations the moment they strike. Teach us to trust You more so that we might joyfully embrace You and all that You provide in the midst of our messes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage patience and perseverance, every pointing to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to take joy in You in the midst of difficult, as You grow patience, perseverance, character and hope within us Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Faithful Reign

Be glad people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV) 

So be happy people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV) 

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; The drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE) 

Friday afternoon, I imagine many of us could relate to this verse in Joel, as the skies opened up and poured down a deluge of refreshing, cleansing rain. Though it was not to save our crops as it was back then, it was a tremendous aid in cleansing the smoke-filled air, all over our area. By yesterday afternoon, we were celebrating His goodness as we could again see blue sky and defined clouds, rather than a smokey haze all around us. The air quality went from unsafe to normal overnight. There is joy in Him, as He is the One who sends the rain and shows us His faithfulness, again and again. May we ever seek Him and praise Him to provide all that we need; for He is faithful forever. 

O Lord, send Your rain, 

For You know our need; 

You cover and bless, 

As You’re sought, You meet. 

Please reign in our lives, 

So love and light show; 

Cleanse us and lead us, 

Let Your heart be known. 

For goodness and grace, 

We ever give praise; 

Trusting in You Lord, 

Throughout all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible reminders of how You cleanse and bless and provide. Thank You that You reign, regardless of what we see around us. Forgive us for our lack of faith or trust in spaces that seem beyond our understanding. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and provision known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your faithful reign in our lives. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. – (Zephaniah 3:17, VOICE)

 

I love the Voice translation of this passage, as the word choice speaks so clearly to my heart. As an individual who understands the deep need for every person to have someone willing to fight for them, and the joy of a new husband, God’s promises are an encouragement that stand the test of time. His presence is our comfort, and His love brings peace and joy and calms our fears. Our mighty Savior, who is like a powerful soldier, is our Protector, ever present with us. The idea that He delights over us with joyful songs, is reminiscent of when my babies were young, and how I would delight in them and sing to them and there would be peace among us as we rested. My human experience is but a glimpse in comparison to the depth of love that God has for us. The joy and delight we discover in those whom He blesses us with in our lives are but a preview of all that He has in store for us in heaven. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord who is among us, present to save and rejoice over us.

 

The Lord is with us,Among Us

He’s mighty to save;

In love, celebrates,

His grace is displayed.

Each fear shall be calmed,

As in Him, we rest;

For His help and love,

Fill our needs the best.

Imagine the sound,

As the Lord does sing;

With joy over us,

All peace He does bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You are our Champion, who is willing to fight for us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm our fears. Thank You that You are always present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to interrupt the peace that You offer. Teach us to lean into You at all times, so that we may know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us with Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible blessings You bestow upon us with Your love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

 

I imagine that these words are a timely reminder for many, as this season of waiting seems extraordinarily long. Yes, I know there have been many throughout history who have endured far worse for far longer, yet this is our season of waiting and staying and missing what we all knew before, and it is a challenge. Thankfully, we do have hope. Hope in God’s presence right now, which brings us joy and peace and strength, and hope in knowing that our current season and circumstances will not last forever; they have an end date. Knowing there is an end does help with patience, yet there are moments that I wonder if my capacity to be patient has come to an end. Of course, God, in His wisdom, reminds us to be faithful to pray – to commune with God at all times. In those moments when I am weary and worn and feeling like I might lose my mind, if I slow down, take a breath, and turn my attention to He who gives me all I need, patience comes as peace within me is restored. May we be intentional to commune with God, for He is our source of hope, joy and patience that helps us persevere, no matter what lies before us.

 

For where there is hope, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Joy too, shall spring forth;

It comes from our trust,

In God, our true Source.

Patient endurance,

When life gets too hard;

Strength when we’re weary,

Our light and our guard.

In all things, choose pray,

Commune with the Lord;

In love, He’s present,

And grace He’ll afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of joy in hope, patience in trials, and the One in whom we can trust, always. Thank You that You hear us and love us through all things. Forgive us for our lack of dependence on You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the One who gives us joy and hope, patience and strength; all that we need to persevere, even when things seem too much. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may feel hope and joy and patience, as they are encouraged to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the joy we have in knowing You, for You are our hope and strength and all that we need to keep pressing on. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Blessings and Strength to the Seeking

Great blessings belong to those who depend on You for strength! Their heart’s desire is to make the trip to Your Temple. – (Psalm 84:5, ERV)

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. – (Psalm 84:5, TLB)

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey. – (Psalm 84:5, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder that our blessings of peace, joy and contentment come when we seek the Lord for strength. When the desire of our heart is to spend time in His presence, we begin to treasure each day and find joy in the journey. That does not mean that each day is easy, or that we somehow suddenly skate through life; but it does determine our true Source of strength and hope and joy, which makes all of the difference as we navigate each new day. May we depend on the Lord for strength each day, and treasure the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as He blesses us with His presence and His peace as we persevere through all things.

 

May we ever learn,

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Of blessings we’ll find;

As we seek Your strength,

With soul, heart and mind.

Your great faithfulness,

Will always be found;

By those who choose seek,

Your grace is profound.

All that we shall need,

To keep keeping on;

Your blessings and strength,

Our hope and our song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength as we seek You. Thank You that You bless our hearts and lives with Your presence and Your peace as we pursue time with You. Thank You that we no longer have to make a pilgrimage to a holy place to find You, for You are wherever we are when we call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength in our struggles. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of strength and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

Safety and Strength

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – (Psalm 5:11, NIV)

But let those who trust in You be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love Your Name. – (Psalm 5:11, ERV)

But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did; let them break out in joyful song. May You keep them safe – their love for You resounding in their hearts. – (Psalm 5:11, VOICE)

 

Having a refuge, a space of safety, grants us reason to rejoice and be glad. Just as there is nothing quite so sweet at the end of a long day as going home and relaxing in the comfort of one’s own space with the people who love them best, there is peace that comes when we run to our Redeemer to be our Comforter, Protector and Provider. He protects and strengthens those who seek Him, and His loving kindness grants reason to rejoice. May we ever take refuge in the Lord, for He is our strength and our salvation; and as we seek Him, we are filled with gladness by His love.

 

Mom is still working hard at her new outpatient therapies. Her favorite is when she has all three therapies (physical, occupational and speech), on the same day. When that trifecta of tough is on her day’s schedule, she tends to sleep really well at night. The most challenging therapy for mom is speech, as they have narrowed down the area most affected by the stroke, and are specifically focused on such. She is embracing the challenge, and we are all looking forward to gathering to celebrate Christmas together soon. It is a joy to pick up on the little things, as when I called yesterday morning, mom was walking around the house, opening window shades, and was able to pause and answer the phone. I was incredibly impressed, as that is a bit of a juggling act with a walker and one uncooperative arm. Yet another testament to her resilience and determination as she keeps working to regain her strength.

 

Seek safety in God, Our Help and Defense

For He is our strength;

A refuge in storms,

Who’ll go to great lengths.

For there is no place,

That God cannot go;

To bring peace and joy,

Make His great grace known.

Sing of His goodness,

With thanks, let us raise;

Joyful thanksgiving,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and our strength. Thank You that You are our joy and reason to praise. Forgive us for not seeking You in the storms, or for not giving praise where praise is due. Teach us to run to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your safety, peace, strength, and blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your loving kindness that loves, protects and blesses us throughout all our days. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1

Restore to Me the Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE)

 

As I sat down to read my devotions this morning, the words that kept resonating in my heart and mind, were “restore to me the joy”, despite the lack of connection to the passages I was reading. For the last few days, I have been in a bit of a funk. I seemed to reach my breaking point yesterday, as I could not coax the normal joy from within, to make any sort of appearance externally. The weight on my heart and mind was just too heavy. Between sickness, disease, and pending death in family members, work, home, and numerous responsibilities and demands that go far beyond what one person is meant to bear alone, I was beginning to crumble on the inside. Kindness extended from colleagues made my eyes threaten to defy me, and it took everything in me to fend off tears. Isolation and work best suited my sullen state during lunch, and God granted me the strength to navigate the remainder of the day. Thankfully, gymnastics practice after school is a place that brings joy, as I delight in the doing that offers help and encouragement in an arena outside of the classroom, where I am not being assessed on every move that I make. Post practice I had the privilege of meeting up with my running buddy for a run, and that too, reminded me of the joy that is within me as I moved freely, pounding out the pain into the pavement. Upon arriving home, my amazing husband was set to love me well. He was aware of my struggle, and took care of dinner preparations, clean up, and then just sat with me, in silent support loving me all the while. This morning, I feel lighter somehow. God is faithful, and He is willing to restore His joy in us as we seek Him. His joy is not happiness with our circumstances, but rather a deep delight in Him, despite what we are walking through. The smile that is typically so readily seen on my face is not because life is always easy, but rather it is rooted in the joy granted through knowing who holds me in the hollow of His hands, every minute of every day. Perhaps yesterday I lost sight of that for a time, or my frail humanity reared its ugly head. Either way, sorrow and heavy took a spot not designated for them, and today, they are being placed back in the palms of He who can carry it all. May we ever seek the Lord to hold our heart and our hands in our heaviness, and pursue Him to restore the joy that comes in knowing our eternity is secure forever in Him.

 

O Lord God above, Restore to Me the Joy

May I ever seek;

Your joy in sorrow,

And strength when I’m weak.

For You are faithful,

You’re mighty to save;

You love us to life,

Through all of our days.

Help us to place all,

In Your mighty hands;

As Your love restores,

Faith we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who restores true joy within us. Thank You that You love us and take our burdens upon Yourself, when we are carrying more than we should. Forgive us for losing sight of where our true joy resides. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your light will shine through us, always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore our joy in You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. – John 8:12

Share and Share Alike

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. – (1 Timothy 6:18, NIV)

Tell those who are rich to do good – to be rich in good works. And tell them they should be happy to give and ready to share. – (1 Timothy 6:18, ERV)

Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. – (1 Timothy 6:18, TLB)

 

These words were written in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, as he encouraged and instructed his “son” in the faith, while he (Timothy) was traveling from town to town to meet with and encourage the churches. At the time, believers were under such severe persecution, that they had to help and depend on one another for survival. The churches that were thriving, despite horrendous persecution, were those that lived closely in community and cared for one another, sharing with each other, whatever God had given them. Though times have changed, the call to have a heart of generosity, has not. Whatever we have has been entrusted to us, so that we might love well. Part of loving well is a generous heart that is ready to share that which we have. Our sharing does not need to be all about money. In fact, our time, our love, our support, our energy, and our ongoing care invested, are the very things that lead to the good works God intended all along. Nothing we have should be held too tightly; for all is a gift. May we seek the Lord to show us best, how to be generous and share with others, according to His good and perfect will; at all times and in all circumstances.

As far as examples of living a life according to these principles, my mom is one of the best that I know. Her home has always been a welcoming oasis for family, friends and neighbors nearby, and to those traveling through. She loves and serves and gives with an enormous heart of love, and all who enter her presence, feel rich for keeping company with her. Currently, as she continues on the road to recovery, my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, are following in her footsteps as they give of their time, talent and resources, to love, encourage and help care for mom well. I know it is a challenge for mom to not fulfill the role she is accustomed to keeping, but her perseverance and the love that surrounds her, is what she needs to get back to a space where she is able to resume her role. May prayers for total healing continue…

 

A generous heart, Ambassadors of Love

Is to what we’re called;

To give out of love,

The gifts God’s installed.

Wherever we’re rich,

Opportunity;

To share and to give,

Most generously.

Be it gifts of love,

Time, talent or things;

May we choose to share,

And honor our King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the generous gifts that You give to us all – be it time, talent, resources, encouragement, or an incredible heart to love. Thank You that You call us to share with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have believed the lie that we had nothing to give, or have chosen to ignore a need around us. Teach us to keep our eyes and hearts open, so that we would see needs and hear Your heart for what we have to offer. Show us how to love and share well with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others out of that which You have so generously given to us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. – Proverbs 22:9

Joy in the Right Words at the Right Time

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! – (Proverbs 15:23, NIV)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

Words are a powerful weapon; forces of good that extend hope and life and encouragement, or they can become spears hurled at the heart – even when the intent is not harm. When our words land well, we find joy in knowing that the intent and application aligned. However, when words fall flat, or far worse, the desire for a rewind option or the ability to withdraw and delete that which was not received as life-giving is huge. This is where it is critical to remember the power of our words, so that we might pause, take a breath, and think clearly before speaking. God is faithful to provide as we abide in Him. Though we are human, as are the recipients of our words, and each are subject to missteps and misinterpretations, when we seek the Lord and trust in Him to guide our heart, there are far more moments of joy in the right words at the right time.

To update on mom, after Friday’s trifecta of therapies, it was determined that she will be phasing into outpatient therapy within the next few weeks. This is a fantastic graduation of sorts, as outpatient facilities have far more tools to work with to propel mom forward on her healing journey. The challenge remaining will be the logistics and working out the details. Thankfully, mom has two great caregivers that alternate days with her while Meg and Scott are at work. Terry and Angela should be able to coordinate and take mom to her appointments as she makes the change to the new. It will be good, but as always, a covering in prayer for new therapists and all of the details, as well as mom’s ongoing healing, are greatly appreciated.

 

A timely answer,

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So apt a reply;

Joy to the speaker,

Grace none can deny.

And how sweet the words,

At just the right time;

To bless, encourage,

Show that love is kind.

Our words have power,

To give life, build up;

To love others well,

Seek to fill their cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes when we are trusting in You to respond to those around us. Thank You for the times that our words are received as they are intended. Forgive us for the times that we have used our words flippantly, grossly unaware of the impact they might have on those around us. Teach us to pause and filter our words through Your lens, as Your heart is to bless and extend love. Show us how to love those around us with our words, each time we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the words we are meant to speak. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14